Its been so long since I have felt any heartfelt enthusiasm or really looked forward to anything in life. On the surface it all seems so normal, I travel, meet old friends, organize meet ups, even 'parties'. All is apparently well and good. I knew that I was somewhat depressed, but having struggled with moods and lows all my life, I thought it wasn't any more than usual. School days had been the worst , with suicidal phases lasting months, even years. Back then of course I didn't know of fancy names like a high functioning depressive. Plus there were enough circumstances that I could blame for my feeling low.
However lately, I had started 'coming out' to a few friends, avoiding the easy 'yep life is all good' and instead giving the longer , more complicated answer. Whats the point ? Maybe I was just tired of pretending.
Sometimes when you use the dreaded word 'depression', the generic , safe catchall, you find that other friends open up too. Just as your Facebook life had seemed perfect, and you had seemed like the well sorted , strong person, good parent, bla bla, but you weren't really, similarly they show their chinks too. And sometimes you learn some new way of coping they have used. Meditation apps, diet supplements, or just the relief of an honest conversation.
At other times, with friends who have never really been through anything of the sort, it gets harder to explain. When they try to 'reason' it out, how much you have going for you, how lucky you are, how you can't keep feeling sorry for yourself , have to snap out of it and move on.. it isn't as easy to explain. The 'ability to cope' doesn't really have a simple correlation with the hardship scale of the circumstances. What is the ability to cope really? Why is it that on some days a simple conversation with anyone seems terribly hard, although you may be going about your day looking perfectly normal. Why does grief strike suddenly , inexplicably, and you find yourself crying buckets for no good reason? Why do you feel nothing? or feel too much? or feel anxious? or feel paranoid? I have seldom felt anxious or paranoid, but having seen parents and close friends and family go through it , I come back to the same thing - you can't reason with these things, or explain them.
Some things help: good sleep, exercise, good food, family and friends, meditation, gratitude journals, coloring books, hobbies/enjoyable activities etc etc. Some things make it worse over the day, though they may give a momentary high: insomnia, sugar, Facebook and isolation, screens/virtual time in general, endless busyness trying to control the lives of others..
But knowing and doing are two hugely different things. Its a daily uphill struggle, and living close to the edge means small losses often tip you over.